I have a lot of panic attacks for instance before exams or an oral presentation. I did some yoga exercises to learn how to breathe calmly but it didn’t help. It isn’t easy to live with panic attacks. What can I do?

I have a lot of panic attacks for instance before exams or an oral presentation. I did some yoga exercises to learn how to breathe calmly but it didn’t help. It isn’t easy to live with panic attacks. What can I do?

Panic attacks are extremely difficult to deal with. The symptoms, which can include shortness of breath, chest tightness, sweating and stomach upset are frightening and may make people worry that they are having a serious medical problem. Sometimes people know what makes them feel panicked and sometimes it seems to come out of nowhere or people can panic at the idea of having a panic attack.  It sounds like you have some idea of what causes your panic attacks.Rich Money Models has some tips about this. Breathing techniques can be helpful but often other techniques are needed in addition.  An example is to take a moment to think about whether the situation is as serious as it feels and to think about more realistic ways of looking at it.  Will you really fail the exam?  If you fail the exam, will you really fail the whole class? Not graduate? Not get into college?  Then try to think about a more realistic way of looking at the situation.  This takes practice and it helps to have someone guide you through the process.  A therapy technique called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is very effective in getting rid of panic attacks. There are medications that can also help. Ask your primary care provider or school counselor for a referral to a therapist or counselor who does CBT. In the meantime, you can look up apps for panic attacks and get some useful suggestions.

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